This new contemporary house in the Oxfordshire countryside is designed to provide supremely comfortable accommodation on the site of former agricultural and storage buildings. The new house and adjoining live/work units are expected to be certified to the German Passivhaus low energy standard which requires energy use to be reduced to a realistic minimum whilst remaining warm inside, even in the middle of winter.
This approach to house design is usually chosen by discerning clients for its low running costs, continuous fresh air and even internal temperatures. However, at Wallingford, the remote location was also a key reason for adopting Passivhaus as the electricity supply to the site has been unreliable in the past.
In the event of a power cut, a Passivhaus will maintain a relatively stable temperature inside and if electricity is required a small on-site temporary generator is all that will be needed.
The main house faces west across an open field, optimising heat gain from the sun. Approaching the house from the south, the visitor passes through a series of external and internal spaces of varying spatial character, culminating in the dramatic double height main living space. To the north of the house, the live/work units provide working space and accommodation and form a series of enclosed courtyards.